Emergence and Anarchism : A Philosophy of Power, Action, and Liberation

By Mark Bray

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Untitled Anarchism Emergence and Anarchism

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Mark Bray is a historian of human rights, terrorism, and politics in Modern Europe. He earned his BA in Philosophy from Wesleyan University in 2005 and his PhD in History from Rutgers University in 2016. He is the author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook (Melville House 2017), Translating Anarchy: The Anarchism of Occupy Wall Street (Zero 2013), The Anarchist Inquisition: Terrorism and Human Rights in Spain and France, 1890-1910 (forthcoming on Cornell University Press), and the coeditor of Anarchist Education and the Modern School: A Francisco Ferrer Reader (PM Press 2018). His work has appeared in Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, Salon, Boston Review, and numerous edited volumes. (From: history.rutgers.edu.)


11 Chapters | 56,940 Words | 376,216 Characters

Epigraph “Happiness does not mean the attainment of a certain level of personal or collective existence. It is rather the consciousness of marching toward a welldefined goal to which one aspires and that one creates in part through one’s own will. To develop the continents, the seas, and rearrange and regulate the environment in order to promote each individual plant, animal, and human life; to become fully conscious of our human solidarity, forming one body with the planet itself; and to take a sweeping view of our origins, our present, our immediate goal, and our distant ideal—this is what progress means.” –Elisée Reclus, 1905[1] (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Foreword Mark Bray Science and socialism. For most of us this pairing brings to mind the “scientific socialism” of Marx and Engels that undergirded the ascension of “historical materialism” to the forefront of socialist thought into the twentieth century. Certainly “historical materialism” grew out of the burgeoning social sciences, but the school of 19th and early 20th century socialist thought that most privileged the natural sciences may have been anarchism. Many anarchists of the era considered their doctrine to be the social embodiment of the ‘truths’ of the natural world revealed through scientific inquiry. ‘Nature’ was endowed with a redemptive transcend... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Acknowledgments Throughout my attempts at writing I’ve been lucky enough to have people willing to set aside some of their own time to help take rough ideas and turn them into something valuable enough for others to read. A book is always a product of cooperation and the hand of many individuals, even if one person’s name ends up on the spine. I want to thank Nate Hawthorne, Adam Weaver, Monica Kostas, Adam Kunin, Don Hamerquist, Kingsley Clarke, and Luz Sierra for our years of collaboration and their dedication to pour through my texts and make them better. Noel Ignatiev, Mark Bray, Don Hammerquist, and Michael Staudenmaier provided me with helpful edits and kind words for the book, and are excellent comrades who have st... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Introduction It’s a jarring experience to be confronted with the reality of the great and overwhelming wrongs that exist today. Our history is filled with avoidable evils like the genocide of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, the centuries of barbarity against African peoples, global environmental degradation, and the misery of people torn from their land to become propertyless workers whose generations were murdered, abused, raped, and wasted by successive rulers. The initial shock of discovering these crimes sticks with you, and today the horrors constantly fill our senses through an unending barrage of information that keeps those experiences close. For those who do not withdraw or shut down in despair, an old question... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Part 1: Philosophy For Philosophy With much of the world upended, to turn to philosophy might seem like a strange move. Philosophy, the most abstract and seemingly out of touch of all intellectual disciplines, appears a strange bedfellow for a time when small fires are coming out of the ground here and there: Egypt, Chili, China, Southern Europe, India, and even the United States. For decades there’s been a philosophical slumber in the political world; a cautious balance of traditions guarded by academia and a drift across vast oceans swimming away from all the tumult raging ashore. It’s precisely in times of great change that people turn again to philosophy. Today we stand at crossroads in world history again w... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Part 2: Emergence What is Emergence? Emergence is a concept originally developed in the 19th century by philosophers looking at the problems of life and change. Today, alterations in our understanding of the living and physical world are spreading its use throughout the sciences. The social world, being a formation of living things, also exhibits emergence, and theories of emergence can help us understand otherwise mysterious social phenomena. Emergence gives us a toolbox to understand and explain complex phenomenon through familiar things from daily life like cities, bodies, and natural phenomena. Because emergence is a feature that is familiar and surrounds us, it can become a means of comprehending and better communicating libe... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Part 3: Power Power in the Libertarian Tradition In social and political life two spheres weave around each other and the events that make up our reality. On the one hand there is the experience of living as individuals with all of our senses, feelings, perceptions, and thoughts. We are creatures with subjective experiences of the world. On the other hand, there is the construction of the social world by large-scale emergent forces that shape us even from before we’re born. The cities we live in, political institutions, cultural patterns, and group behaviors all are living forces around us that are greater than the sums of the individuals within them, and in fact make up part of how we become who we are. We inhabit a sociall... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Part 4: Agency and Cognition Political Cognition In the preceding chapters action, motivation, and mental life were touched upon. A number of themes are repeated throughout when we look at human action: ideas, awareness, the conscious vs. the unconscious, intention, judgments, values, and norms. In specifically political thought, ideas have always posed a central question: what role do ideas and ideology play in political action? That is, to what degree do political ideas motivate? Are they necessary in order to accomplish political ends? And what function do they play within the causal chains that produce political action? There are two pieces to the problem. First, what is the relationship between simple thought and actio... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Post-script Viewed in reverse, the arguments of this book begin with the proposal of agency that is constantly defining and defined by a complex and adaptive social system mutually constituted. Mental life is built not only out of conscious thought and reasoning, but in reference to things and forces outside us, our profound unconscious internal processes, and the back and forth between these elements. We experience this process over time as historical beings aware of our existence, and recorded in ever changing memories that are set against our identities and altered in light of our acts and thoughts. Inherently connected to the thoughts and actions of others in human societies, relationships of power permeate our mental lives and m... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Bibliography Bakunin, Mikhail Aleksandrovich. Bakunin on Anarchy. Edited and translated by Sam Dolgoff. New York: Vintage Books, 1971. Accessed February 2, 2016. www.marxists.org. ———. The Political Philosophy of Bakunin: Scientific Anarchism. Compiled and edited by Grigorii Petrovich Maksimov. London: The Free Press, 1964. Barclay, Harold B. The State. London: Freedom Press, 2003. Barret, Daniel. Los Sediciosos Despertares de la Anarquía. Buenos Aires: Libros de Anarres, 2011. Accessed April 27, 2016. laturbaediciones.files.wordpress.com. Beam, Louis. “Leaderless Resistance.” The Seditionist 12 (1992): 12–13. Accessed April 27, 2016. www.researchgate.net&rsq... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
[1] Elisée Recluse, Anarchy, Geography, and Modernity, trans. and ed. John Clark and Camille Martin (Oakland: PM Press, 2013), 233. Taken from the last chapter, “Progress,” of his magnum opus, Man and the Earth (1905). [2] Álvaro Girón Sierra, En la mesa con Darwin: evolución y revolución en el movimiento libertario en España (1869–1914) (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 2005), 66. [3] Peter Kropotkin, “Modern Science and Anarchism” in Roger N. Baldwin ed., Anarchism: A Collection of Revolutionary Writings (Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, 2002), 15556. [4] William Archer, The Life, Trial and Death of Francisco Ferrer... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)


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